their official report to the Government, the Committee embraced
the fullest implementation of the precautionary principle yet proposed
in the management of chemicals. Now in late 2000, Prime Minister
Göran Persson is preparing to present early in 2001 a version
of the Committee's recommendations to the Swedish parliament, which
is widely expected to approve the new chemical policy.
proposed policies will reverse the burden of proof for persistent,
bioaccumulative compounds... new ones as well as those that have
been in commerce already. Specifically, if a compound is shown
to be persistent and bioaccumulative, its use will be banned unless
it can be shown that the chemical is safe. Current practice
allows use unless the chemical can be shown to cause harm.
points in the new policies:
man-made substances should not be accumulated in the environment.
Preventing this is the only reliable way of avoiding adverse health
and environmental effects; such action is consistent with the precautionary
principle, according to which the absence of conclusive scientific
evidence must not, where there is a risk of serious damage, be used
as an excuse for postponing cost-effective measures."
products introduced into the market are largely:
from man-made organic substances that are persistent and liable
to bioaccumulate, and from substances that give rise to such substances
from mad-mande substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic and
endocrine disruptive-- including those which have adverse effects
on the reproductive system.
products introduced on the market are largely free from mercury,
cadmium, lead and their compounds.
are used in such a way that they are not released into the environment
to a degree that causes harm to the environment or human health.
organic substances that are persistent and bioaccumulative occur
in production processes only if the producer can show that health
and ethe environment will not be harmed.
use of brominated flame retardants must be restricted. PBB and
PBDE will be phased out.
remaining use of short-chain highly chlorinated paraffins will
be phased out by 2000. All use of chlorinated paraffins as plasticizers
or flame retardants in PVC products must cease by 2000.
use of nonyl phenol ethoxylates is estimated to have dropped in
Sweden by 70-80 percent since 1990. The remaining use of NFEs,
which cause direct emissions, will be phased out by 2000.
use of phthalates and other plasticizers with harmful or potentially
harmful health or environmental effects should be phased out on
a voluntary basis.
in toys for children under the age of three will be banned."
overview of the proposals can be found in English on the Swedish
on sustainable development, or can be downloaded in a .pdf
1 December 2000
Magazine, 15 December 2000.